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Michele da Verona FLAVIO GIANASSI.jpg

workshop of

Michele da Verona

Verona, 1470-1540

The panel, faithful to the Virgilian narrative, represents a photographic unicum of the historiated episodes depicted. Close observation of its state of conservation reveals that three of the four sides of the panel remain untrimmed. Consequently, the panel still retains its original height, which suggests that it could be a part of the front of a nuptial chest, an interpretation further supported by the chosen iconographic theme.

Michele da Verona FLAVIO GIANASSI.jpg

Construction of Carthage, Dido Embraces Cupid  and Falls in Love with Aeneas


Oil on panel, 40 x 79 cm



Private collection



M. Vinco, Cassoni. Pittura profana del Rinascimento a Verona, Roma 2018, pp. 256-259

This elegant panel, well-preserved and easily assessable in its distinct characteristics, was first attributed by Federico Zeri to an anonymous Paduan painter of the 15th-century. Considered the numerous Mantegnesque citations characterising the painting, coupled with the multiple references to the Veronese school of painting of the 15th-century, the panel is traditionally attributed to Bernardino Parentino. Furthermore, significant comparisons can be drawn with the canon of this school through works by Michele da Verona and his workshop, dating between 1495 and 1500.   

Michele da Verona (private collection)
Michele da Verona FLAVIO GIANASSI.jpg

Given the close sequence of episodes from the first book of the Aeneid depicted here, we can associate this chest to The Apparition of Venus in the Guise of a Huntress to Aeneas and Achates, now in private collection.

Michele da Verona FLAVIO GIANASSI.jpg

The left part of the historiated scene represents the Construction of Carthage. The depiction corresponds perfectly to the verses of the Aeneid where in the background appears the temple of Juno, decorated with frescoes of the Trojan War: “Aeneas admires the palaces (once huts), the gates, the paved streets. The Tyrians, full of zeal, work with great noise: some raise walls, build the citadel and roll huge stones with their hands, others choose the place for their house and draw a furrow around it, others appoint judges, public officials, and the sacred Senate; some dig a harbour, others lay the deep foundations of a theatre or carve out from blocks of stone immense columns, very high ornaments of the future stage [...]. Dido had erected a great temple to Juno there, rich with many treasures and the divine presence: with thresholds of bronze and bronze doorposts, large bronze doors turned on their hinges”.

On the right side of the scene, is depicted the episode of Dido Embraces Cupid and Falls in Love with Aeneas, wherein Venus sends her son disguised as Aeneas to make the queen of Carthage fall in love with the latter. The painting details what Cupid was instructed by his mother: “For one night you will artfully imitate his appearance; you are a child, you can easily assume those familiar features: so when Dido, happy, welcomes you into her lap amidst the fumes of wine and the royal feast, when she embraces you, showering you with kisses, you will breathe into her heart a venomous fire”

Michele da Verona FLAVIO GIANASSI.jpg
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